By Janet Dake —

Several dozen U of L students and community members rallied in front of Ekstrom Library to protest Mitch McConnell’s scheduled appearance there Aug. 8. 

The protest primarily concerned the potential cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-administration policy. DACA allows undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S as children to pursue higher education at public colleges and universities without fear of being deported.

Speakers at the protest called upon local leaders to establish Louisville as a sanctuary city. A sanctuary city limits cooperation with the federal government to enforce immigration laws.

New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston have all declared themselves sanctuary cities.

U of L student Addie McComb said she attended the protest because she is concerned about many Trump administration decisions. “There are some many people in Louisville and at the university who are personally affected by DACA,” McComb said. “Louisville police working with ICE was a huge issue for me, and we need to be here for our students that are having the worst week of their lives.”

Throughout the protest, speakers riled up the crowd with call-and-response chants such as, “No ban! No wall! Sanctuary for all!” and “Si se puede!” (the Spanish translation of “we can do it”).

U of L student Nuri Thompson agreed Louisville should become a sanctuary city.

“If America is supposed to be land of the free home of the brave, land of opportunity, then why should we make laws that prevent people from having those opportunities?” Thompson said.  

Jesus Ibanos, a third year law student a U of L said, “We’re here to support our undocumented communities and to tell Mcconnell that he needs to step up and lead the effort to protect the 11 million undocumented individuals.”

Ibanos works with undocumented students through Mi Gente, a Latino organization dedicated to uplifting minority communities. 

The protest was not without some opposition. As students chanted, “No Ban! No Wall! Sanctuary for all!” a student began shouting back, “What about Jesus for all?” U of L student Joe Esalton engaged in some verbal altercations with some of the protesters who wanted him to leave, though it never escalated.

McConnell was not seen near the protest.